Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

4/29/2005

Confusing Headline of the Day

Filed under: General,Media — Dangerous Dan @ 11:21 pm

England to plead guilty in Abu Ghraib abuse

Turns out that Great Britain isn't copping to anything, but Lynndie England is.

4/22/2005

What Media Bias?

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 12:20 pm

ABC News has an article up about Henry Hyde (who's retiring) admitting that the Clinton impeachment was in part a payback for Nixon getting run out of the White House. I think this would be news to many conservatives who couldn't currently give a flip about the Nixon scandals and would think the Nixon vengeance squad would have been small. But then again, I wasn't a senator at the time.

Far be it for a reporter, though, not to inject a little bias into the story. Here's the last sentence:

Hyde's style will be missed in Washington, as well as his sense of civility, even though a lot of people will not miss his rigid ideology.

Now take a moment, get in your Zen pose, and imagine that line being said about a retiring Democrat. Good luck with that.

Update:
Well, this is interesting. They've changed the story. They've backed off slightly on the Nixon-Clinton connection and they've removed the biased line I noted above. I tried to find a Google cached image, but can't.

4/16/2005

Mapesism

Filed under: Media,Politics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 1:40 pm

The Anchoress has an except of the treatment Mary Mapes developed for her upcoming book on the Rathergate memos and their aftermath. Here's the best part:

Conservative bloggers are part of the story. They have vilified me, mounted a “wilding” attack against me…we were, it seemed the first victims of a new kind of digital McCarthyism, which uses the same techniques as the old McCarthyism–rumors, slurs, false charges and ugly attacks–but now employs the Internet, talk radio and cable TV echo chamber to ricochet information around the world.

This is coming from the woman who used her position as a CBS news producer to launch an ugly attack on President Bush that was composed of rumors, slurs, and false charges. Mapes is obviously concerned (but incorrectly so) that bloggers, radio, and FoxNews are horning in on the MSM's exclusive domain of making inflammatory accusations towards perceived opponents on the basis of scant or false evidence.

This seems to me like ‘McCarthyism,’ doesn't it? Isn't the basis of the practice that you make charges that are fake but accurate, just like the memos? Now, at least we now know that McCarthy was partially correct that were Communists and Communist sympathizers in various levels of government who were essentially being controlled by the Soviets. McCarthy, however, was a right ass who used disreputable tactics and who probably worried about commies sneaking into his house through the plumbing. Leaving that aside, though, the way we currently use the term is that a person engaging in McCarthyism is making false, paranoid, and unfounded allegations towards political opponents with the purpose of destroying them and/or suppressing the opposition. Again, this fits Mapes.

The problem, of course, is that we can't apply the term 'McCarthyism' to Mapes. Due to its namesake's political leanings, ‘McCarthyism’ is irrevocably capable of only being used in connection with Republicans, conservatives, or anybody right of center. It can't be used when talking about liberals. Bill Frist, George Bush, and Rush Limbaugh can use McCarthyist tactics, but Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, and Al Franken, though they may use the exact same tactics, cannot be McCarthyist.

Therefore, I propose that a new term be coined that can be used to in reference to liberals when they engage in McCarthyism. I propose 'Mapesism,' given our current subject. I briefly considered 'Ratherism' but that already applies to Dan's inane sayings. Granted, 'Mapesism' doesn't have quite the cachet of 'McCarthyism' and its political origins aren't as ugly, but it can work… especially when used in reference to the media, but it can be used for politicians too.

So the next time you see a liberal making unfounded paranoid accusations against political opponents, just say that he or she is engaging in the chilling tactics of Mapesism.

Want more?
Visit LGF and Mark My Words

4/6/2005

I Want My GoreTV

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 9:22 pm

"You say your points on the GoreTV. That ain't workin'. That's the way you do it. Money for nothin' and your chicks for free."

Al Gore is launching a new TV network called "Current" which is aimed at the 18-34 year-old crowd, especially those in their early 20's. He says it's not supposed to be a liberal or Democratic channel, but… uhhh… yeah, we know how that will work out.

The channel will show professionally produced segments as well as viewer-produced videos mostly short in length, running from a few seconds to up to 15 minutes.

"We are about empowering this generation of young people in their 20s, the 18-34 population, to engage in a dialogue of democracy and to tell their stories about what's going in their lives in the dominant media of our time," he said.

Viewers will also be able to vote for their favorite videos and get tutorials via the Internet on how to produce their own segments, according to network officials.

This will naturally skew liberal. I regularly get to watch MTV-U (MTV-University) at a local gym when I work out and it's quite possibly the most annoying channel ever. The people who produce the programming try so hard to make it seem hip and cool that it's truly painful. One gets the impression that everything is done by avant-garde filmmakers fresh out of college who think being able to give an hour-long dissertation on the oeuvre of an obscure French director from the 20's makes them a superior human, and who appeal to no one but Viacom executives. Everybody else just thinks they're pretentious jerks. Really, the cool factor is just forced. And yes, it does lean left. How could it not? They had a station id segment that was anti-war and currently have one advocating the use of hemp. I won't even get into the ones involving interestingly gyrating dots. They think, of course, that if you’re a young person, especially a college student, then you must be liberal and will thus program accordingly.

Now keep in mind that GoreTV is also supposed to raise the consciousness of 18-34 year-olds. Good luck. This is the age group, especially the early-20's, who are notoriously bad at caring about politics and current events, and whose voter turnout has remained at a ridiculously low level. New TV stations, Rock the Vote concerts, and P. Diddy death threats are not going to change that. "Raising awareness" for this group is either futile or is an utterly inapplicable term. Leave them be. They'll start becoming involved on their 35th birthday.

3/30/2005

The Memo

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 2:01 pm

After the media reported on the talking points memo and pretty much said that it was from the GOP, they're now backtracking… kinda. While they called it a GOP talking points memo that was distributed by and to Republicans, they never directly said it came from the Repubs. So in their mind, they're safe because they didn't directly attribute its origin to the GOP even though they heavily implied it in a variety of other ways. This would be a case of being dishonest while being technically true, an artform pioneered by politicans, practiced by lawyers, and which counts Bill Clinton as its Zen master.

With the many errors in the document, you would think the media, such as the Washington Post and ABC News, would have some slight inclination to find out where the thing came from. Surely if it did come from the GOP, that would be big news and they'd like it. On the other hand, though, if it came from Democrats, even some low-level staffer, that would be even bigger news which they would not like and would therefore not report. So why the silence?

Want more?
There are plenty of bloggers on this case with lots to say. Visit Pete the Elder, Captain's Quarters, Powerline, and Michelle Malkin.

3/28/2005

What Media Bias?

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 10:49 am

The recent kerfuffle over the faked Republican Schiavo talking-points memo smacks of liberal media bias. In this case, the media folks have been all about reporting on the content of the memo and they seem not all concerned about the origin of the thing or its provenance as it came to them. They merely treated the memo as fact without bothering to fact-check.

Now contrast this behavior with how the media reported on the Democrat strategy memos from late 2003. These were unprotected documents on the Senate servers that were open for just about anybody on the network to view. They contained some rather damning evidence of Democrats taking marching orders from special interest groups and gaming the judicial confirmation process. One even referred to Bush's judicial nominees as Nazis. If you perused most of the MSM outlets at the time, you found scant little reporting on the actual content of the memos. The media was concerned only with how the things became public and repeated Democrat accusations of hacking and malfeasance. A Republican staffer was eventually canned over the ordeal.

So here's what we have… damning Democrat memos are publicized and the media does not report on their content, but only investigates the leak (it is odd how the media is never concerned about leaks that hurt Republicans or the Bush administration, isn't it?). In fact, the reports talking about the leak only obliquely referred to the documents as Democrat strategy or talking points memos and that's it. Then we have a faked Republican memo that the media have no problem transcribing, quoting, and noting the content, and yet they're not at all concerned about where it came from.

Any bias there?

Want more?
Visit Slate, Pete the Elder, the Daily Standard

3/14/2005

The Post Editor and the Chinese Government Media Organ

Filed under: Media,Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 11:07 pm

There's gotta be an Aesop's fable in that title somewhere.

Update: Before continuing, be aware that Bennett may have been intentionally misquoted, but I think many of my original points still stand. See here.

Phillip Bennett, the managing editor of the Washington Post gave an interview to the Chinese newspaper, the People's Daily. It's an interesting insight into the mind of a major American news executive. I'll look at a few parts of it.

First, with "questions" like this:

Yong Tang: The Bush administration always claims that it is spreading freedom and democracy to all over the world. But there is widespread suspicion over the motives of What the Bush administration is doing. Some experts say democracy is just a beautiful pretext for America to seek its own interests. So personally I think there is a kind of hypocrisy here.

you'll note that the interviewer is not making much of a feint at objectivity.

Then there's this exchange:

Yong Tang: In such sense, do you think America should be the leader of the world?

Bennett: No, I don't think US should be the leader of the world. My job is helping my readers trying to understand what is happening now. What is happening now is very difficult to understand. The world is very complex. There are various complex forces occurring in it. I don't think you can imagine a world where one country or one group of people could lead everybody else. I can't imagine that could happen. I also think it is unhealthy to have one country as the leader of the world. People in other countries don't want to be led by foreign countries. They may want to have good relations with it or they may want to share with what is good in that country.

That is also a sort of colonial question. The world has gone through colonialism and imperialism. We have seen the danger and shortcomings of those systems. If we are heading into another period of imperialism where the US thinks itself as the leader of the area and its interest should prevail over all other interests of its neighbors and others, then I think the world will be in an unhappy period.

I think Bennett fundamentally misunderstands how the world works. There's going to be a world leader, whether you like it or not. You may have more than one, such as in the Cold War, and that can be problematic since equally powerful but opposing countries tend to get into violent squabbles. The more poles of equality and "leaders" there are, the less meaning being a 'leader' has and the more that you slide towards war and chaos.

So the question isn't whether there should be a world leader as Bennett seems to think. That one has already been decided in our present age in favor of there being one. The real question is who's going to be the leader? China is currently positioning itself to take on that role by mid to late century. Is that the sort of state that should be the world leader? How about the EU or the UN? They're both bureaucratic monoliths slowly collapsing under their own regulatory weight. That and neither has the military ability or will to project power.

Sure, the U.S. has some significant warts when it comes to being the leader, but given the other options, it's by far and away the best country for the job. Bennett is failing to realize this.

The last part of his answer is just foolish: "…where the US thinks itself as the leader of the area and its interest should prevail over all other interests of its neighbors and others, then I think the world will be in an unhappy period." The U.S., like any other country, pursues its own national self-interest and that often means putting its own interests above those of other states. If Bennett truly believes that countries like France or Germany are magnanimously acting in the world’s interest instead of their own national interests, then he is deluding himself.

Next is this exchange:

Yong Tang: So the world order should be democratic?

Bennett: Democracy means many things. How do you define democracy? As a Chinese journalist, you may have your own definition of democracy which corresponds to your history and your way of seeing the world. I may have another definition. Someone else may have their own definitions. Democracy means a lot of different things.

Let me give an example. Democracy in one sense means the majority decides, but it also means the rights of the minority are protected. As UK late Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, democracy is the least bad system that we have ever thught of. So democracy is never perfect. It always has problems. Our democracy here in the US has many contradictions, problems and challenges. So democracy is not a cure that could turn everything bad into good. It has its own advantages and its disadvantages.

Ah, spoken like a true relativist. He's afraid to even venture an endorsement of what democracy is. Again, he's confusing the issues. Democracy itself is pretty simple… it's folks voting on a government or on laws. Sure, there are a variety of democratic systems (as many as there are democracies), but that's a different issue. The basic idea, though, is people voting on a representative government that is answerable to the people. That's what the U.S. is trying to spread and obfuscating the issue by hiding behind plural definitions is idiotic. That's what an entry-level philosophy student does; they get paralyzed by competing positions or different definitions and then think they’re being intelligent by assuming their paralysis means that there is no correct position or definition.

The most amusing part of that quote is Bennett telling the Chinese reporter that the guy may have his own definition of democracy based on history on world outlook. Yeah, I'm sure he does. It would go something like this… "Democracy? Whazzat?!"

What else? In speaking the American media's role, he says

Often that is in conflict with the government. That is why we are having a lot of pressure from the government, though not in the materials ways. We receive a lot of criticism from the government for presenting views of events which are in odds with what they are trying to present. This is very important in our system and it is one of the fundemental roles of the press.

Again, this is to the Chinese journalist. In China, they really don't have that messy conflict between government and media. After all, what's the difference between the two?

I'll leave you with this:

Yong Tang: The Washington Post often describes China as a dictator communist regime without democracy and freedom. Why is the newspaper so fond of playing with such negative words?

Bennett: I disagree with that. First of all, Neither The Washington Post, nor the New York Times, nor any other big newspapers, refer to China today as a dictatorship regime. We don't use these words on the paper any more. Now we say China is a communist country only because it is a fact. China is ruled by the Communist party.

Ok, that part's a fact. But the part about China being a dictatorial regime without democracy and freedom ain't exactly false either, is it?

Update: Bennett may have been intentionally misquoted. See here.

3/13/2005

Hero

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 2:37 pm

I watched this Jet Li flick today and was thoroughly disappointed. It was long, plodding, and boring. Even the very impressive fight scenes were somehow soporific. If that weren't bad enough, you could see the Chicom (Chinese-Communist) overtones to the thing as it would made in China by a Chinese director. The "hero" sacrifices his life for the common good instead of acting from justice, honor, his own emotions, or local loyalties. The 'common good' here meant that the warring states and people had to be violently conquered and culturally and politically unified under one political system. Essentially, peace would be achieved through tyranny, which hardly makes peace worth it. But you can see why the Chicoms would like it. Though the initial conquering was imperial and not communist, it still contained many of the same basic ideals, which isn't at all surprising. I half expected the king of Qin to pull out a little red book and suddenly turn into Chairman Mao.

If you want a greater treatment of the movie, see John Derbyshire's piece here. Also check out this unexpectedly scathing critique from the World Socialist Website.

3/7/2005

AP/AFP/Reuters Captions

Filed under: Media,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 10:28 pm

Sometimes when I go through the news photos, I come across captions that have very little to do with the picture… to the point that the association is kinda stupid. Here are two examples. I wonder why they picked the first one?

RATS
President George W. Bush (news – web sites) speaks about Social Security (news – web sites) reform in South Bend, Indiana, March 4, 2005. Bush demanded on March 5that Syria withdraw completely from Lebanon and denounced Damascus' 'support for terrorism' as a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

bellies
Pregnant women, assembled here in 2004 for another cause, forced to stand on London's crowded subway trains now can look forward to some relief.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Adrian Dennis

Not the Children!

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 9:59 pm

Nine-year-old Noah McCullough appeared on the Today show with Katie Couric last Friday. He's a little trivia spitfire who backs Bush's social security plan, wants to be president someday (he's running in 2032, he says), and is working with the group Progress for America. To this last part, Katie asked his mother, "Quick question, Donna. Do you worry about your adorable and brilliant son being exploited for political reasons at all? I know he's working for Progress for America, which, or has been to asked to help by this group, which spent, I guess $45 million re-electing President Bush and $20 million it plans to spend pushing Social Security reform. Do you feel completely comfortable with it?"

Oh, no, the children! I wonder if Katie was concerned about the Democrats using 12-year-old Ilana Wexler at the Democratic National Convention to criticize Dick Cheney. Or maybe about 10-year-old Samantha Smith becoming a liberal heroine in the mid-80's. Nah, I'm sure they weren't being used, they were just being precocious, smart, and honest.

Next Issue: Men of the GOP

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 9:39 pm

The editor of Playgirl magazine has admitted she's gone Republican. Uhhh… although her reasons for it are a little odd:

“Those on the right are presumed to be all about power and greed – two really sexy traits in the bedroom. They want it, they want it now, and they’ll do anything to get it. And I’m not talking about some pansy-assed victory, I’m talking about full on jackpot, satisfaction for all.”

“The Democrats of the Sixties were all about making love and not war while a war-loving Republican is a man who would fight, bleed, sacrifice, and die for his country. Could you imagine what that very same man would do for his wife in the bedroom?” asks Zipp.

I certainly hope this doesn't escalate into a battle for demographics between the Dems and Repubs. I REALLY don't want to see Ted Kennedy and Dick Cheney debate which party is better in the sack.

Bush… (arg!)… May… (ouch!)… Be (Oh, my soul!)… Right

Filed under: Media,Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 9:33 pm

British newspaper the Independent has a front page story today in which they ask if Bush may actually have been right after all. While they agree that he may be right, it's absolutely the most grudging, hesitant, cautionary, and conditional admission you could find. They do everything short of positing that all the positive developments under Bush's watch are maybe, just could be, possibly the result of alien brain waves generated by cabbage. I think this story was painful for them to publish. But, hey, it's a step in the right direction.

3/4/2005

Rather on Letterman

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 9:24 am

Dan Rather was Letterman last night and talked about the forged documents most of the time. He seems to be still clinging to the absurdity that the memos are real:

"Although they had four months and millions of dollars, they could not demonstrate that the documents were not authentic, that they were forgeries," Rather said.

Oh, my.

Update: Powerline has the transcript here.

3/1/2005

Ratherisms

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 11:43 pm

Do check out MRC's collection of Dan Rather quotes from over the years. Most show Rather's leftward bias, which isn't new. My favorite section didn't have much to do with bias… the Ratherisms, which I happily reproduce below. As absurd as they are, I kinda like them, but I get the feeling that Rather sat around thinking up the dumb phrases to say instead of making them up off the cuff. Anyway, here they are:

Rather’s Ridiculous Ratherisms

“This presidential race is hotter than the Devil’s anvil.”
“This presidential race, you know, it’s been crackling like a hickory fire for at least the last hour and a half.”
“Situation in Ohio would give an aspirin a headache.”
“John Kerry, his lead is as thin as turnip soup.”
— CBS’s election coverage, November 2, 2004.

“Bush has had a lead since the very start, but his lead is now shakier than cafeteria Jell-O.”
“If you’re in the kitchen, Mabel, come back in the front room: 145 for Gore, 130 for Bush, 270 needed to win.”
“The presidential race, still hotter than a Laredo parking lot.”
— During CBS News coverage of election night 2000.

“In New Hampshire, closest Senate race in the country, this race between Dick Swett and Bob Smith is as hot and tight as a too small bathing suit on a too long car ride back from the beach.”
— During CBS News 1996 election night coverage.

“A lot of tight Senate races out there. Let’s hit those chips with another dash of salsa, Ed Bradley.”
— During CBS News 1994 election night coverage.

“I think you’re more likely to see the Pope ride through this room on a giraffe.”
— On the possibility of a CBS News cable channel, to the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Gail Shister, February 18, 1997.

“Mr. Clinton was about as relaxed as a pound of liver.”
— Referring to his earlier interview with Bill Clinton, January 20, 1993 CBS This Morning.

“Stay with CBS now for more news, including: Is there a pall over the mall as holiday shoppers think small?”
— Previewing an upcoming segment on the CBS Evening News, December 2, 1991.

2/20/2005

Gannon/Guckert

Filed under: Media,Politics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 11:55 pm

I have little interest in the Jeff Gannon/Guckert incident except as it reveals the incredible hypocrisy of the left. Here are the facts: Guckert is the man who was formerly a gay male escort but who later tried to become a successful reporter. His real name is Jeff Guckert but he used the pen-name Gannon because he said it was easier to pronounce. He worked for a conservative internet news outlet called Talon News and he obtained day-to-day White House press passes under his real name. He occasionally lobbed a softball question at the press secretary.

For this last sin, liberal blogs and MSM folks have viciously attacked him. They were the ones who revealed his sordid past and even posted nude pictures of him on their sites. They're now trying blow this up into some huge scandal involving the White House even though nothing improper took place. In doing so, however, they have totally destroyed a man for essentially being a gay conservative. The end of the political spectrum that's supposed to be in favor of gay rights has made much hay of the fact that he was a gay escort. If you go to this URL, you'll see Bill Maher gleefully and continually refer to Guckert as a gay prostitute (you can also watch Maher spread rumors, tell lies, and discuss with Lesley Stahl and Sen. Joe Biden how Guckert got his press pass under a pseudonym, which is false). If the right side of blogosphere was doing this to a liberal homosexual, even one who was an escort, they would rightly be raked over the coals for it.

There is no damn story here but they will continue to play it up for their own gain and the MSM is playing along. Let's remember that this is the same MSM that ignored the Chief News Director of CNN accusing the U.S. military of assassinating journalists. And here they are playing along in the take-down of this poor bastard Guckert. This is beyond disgraceful and it's beyond shameful.

Go here and here to see Powerline's takes.

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